May Monthly Bullet Journal Spreads

May Monthly Bullet Journal Spreads

I know what you’re thinking. “Coryl, another bullet journal blog post?” Yes. This time I’m sharing my monthly bullet journal spreads for May. I shared the weekly spreads in my post about ugly layouts, so this will be a short post! Also, look! Pretty pictures!

My planner is one of the core elements of my life. It helps me manage my work, writing, mental health, and physical wellbeing. I love sharing it and talking about how it affects each area of my life. My monthly bullet journal spreads for May ended up being prettier than my weekly ones. I found myself using the month layouts more than my failed weekly layouts.

May Monthly Bullet Journal Spreads

I tried to bring in more artistic and drawn elements, like what I did in April. But something was off. I didn’t doodle and colour as much as I thought I would. Even the splash page gemstone border stayed bland and uncoloured. I was trying so hard with the weekly layouts that I didn’t have the energy to put in effort for the monthly spreads.

My two-page mental health tracker is still the focal point of all my monthly planning. Since I have a chronic illness (hey bipolar!), seeing patterns in my health is more important than tracking habits. My overall wellbeing is more important than whether I washed my hair that day, or did my whole routine. Some aspects of my routine are affected by my mental illness and its symptoms. But I’d rather record my symptoms than the symptoms of the symptoms. Neglecting my hygiene is a symptom of my mental illness, for example, but it’s a sign of low energy and motivation. I’d rather track the broad symptoms that affect my life than the way my life is affected.

I tried to bring in mini-trackers for good habits and self-care, though! My calendar spreads are always a great place for me to experiment. So these monthly bullet journal spreads are a whole new thing for me. I tracked the weather, since I was aiming to be outside more. I didn’t have as large a section for my calendar and agenda as I did in April. That ended up being a bad decision. I was losing track of time-and-date-sensitive plans each week from the poorly planned weekly spreads! I’m glad I was able to review and be mindful of what wasn’t working, so I can plan better for June.

I didn’t showcase my goal spread for this month. That’s something I wanted to keep completely private. I’ll blur out information I don’t want to share, if it’s a few lines; but my goals for May aren’t something I want to share at all. I would have ended up posting a blurry notebook page!

These monthly bullet journal spreads aren’t the best. But that’s okay. June will be better, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be posting about my June spreads at the end of the month, so stay tuned for those pictures and reflection! I think they’ll be an improvement.


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April Bullet Journal Spreads

April Bullet Journal Spreads Weekly Monthly BuJo

In an attempt to bring spring into my life, I went hardcore with my April monthly bullet journal doodles. I haven’t gotten this artistic and drawn this much in my bullet journal before. The pops of colour in the flowers really brightened up my month for my spreads. The snow hasn’t completely melted where I live. I’m pretty desperate for florals and greenery!

Monthly bullet journal spreads

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Month Monthly Layout 01 Filled

As is my style, I have my bubble layout tracker, which I didn’t feel like photographing for this month. If you’ve seen any of my other posts with monthly bullet journal spreads, you’ve seen my tracker layout. It changes ever so slightly from month-to-month, but between my March monthly bullet journal spreads and April, they were basically identical.

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Month Monthly Layout 02 Fitness Calendar Tracker

I really wanted to focus on the flower drawings. Bullet journal doodles are outside of my normal journalling, after all. For some of the flowers, I used Planning Mindfully’s flower drawing tutorial to get started. I also used references from image searches and from a drawing book I own. Also against my normal journalling, I used pencil crayons (“colored pencils” to Americans, I think?) to colour the doodles. I typically use markers for my monthly bullet journal designs, trackers, and calendars. The pencil crayons made the monthly layout a bit softer, since I could blend colours more easily.

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Month Monthly Layout 03 Calendar Agenda

Overall, I’m very, very happy with these monthly bullet journal spreads.

Weekly bullet journal spreads

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Week Weekly Layout 01 Filled

The weekly layouts for April are a bit similar to March, but because I had more small projects to work on this month, I adapted slightly. The daily modules for April are a tiny bit larger than they were in March—a very good thing. After I filled up most of the days, I barely had room to decorate.

I used the same layout each week this month, and prettied them up afterward with washi tape. I don’t like decking out my bullet journal spreads with designs before I fill them in. It’s impossible for me to know which days will be busier and fill the module.

Here are some before, during, and after shots of my weekly layouts!

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Week Weekly Layout 02 Midweek

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Week Weekly Layout 03 Filled

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Week Weekly Layout 04 Filled Closeup

My bare-bones layout for weekly spreads is incredibly bland. My last week in April started off with pops of washi tape only because I messed up with marker in an area and wanted to cover it up!

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Week Weekly Layout 05 Empty

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Week Weekly Layout 06 Midweek

Since I’ve gotten into the habit of doing my monthly bullet journal spreads and weekly layouts at the start of the month, I use my journal more consistently. It takes some time to get set up before I can use it (about 4 hours total, actually—more if I’m experimenting). But then I don’t have to set aside time each week to draw a layout. It’s much easier to commit to a weekly layout and use the same design for the month.

I’m excited to start designing and planning for May’s monthly bullet journal spreads!

March Bullet Journal Spreads

March in my bullet journal looked like most of my months. I had fun with an illustrative splash page with some hanging plants! I drew out all of my weekly layouts in advance, and then customised them with washi tape and colours when I got to those weeks.

I’m still obsessed with my bubbles for tracking! Maybe it’s because I grew up having to take so many Scantron tests… Or maybe it still reminds me of equipping Materia like in Final Fantasy 7.

My monthly calendars got a little more artsy than they normally do. I didn’t end up looking at them pages as much as I thought I would, including doing the exercise I thought I would, but that’s okay. For April, I’ll be changing up how I do these spreads!

For my weekly spreads, I start off very blank and add in the washi and other decor once I’m about halfway through the week. Some days have longer to do lists than others, and I can’t really guess which days those are for where I can add a strip of tape.

I’ve enjoyed these layouts for my week view, but I’m changing them for April since my needs have changed.

April looks beautiful, by the way. If you want a sneak peek, there’s a post on my Instagram!

September 2017 Bullet Journal Spreads

This month, I went more detailed and expansive with my monthly layouts.

I separated my mental health trackers to two different spreads (more on that in this post about tracking my mental health!) and moved my calendar to its own spread.

I’m trying to exercise more regularly. I made a spread for my workouts and tracking kilometers I walk, jog, or run. I like the checklists for the different exercises. They give me options for mixing up my workouts week to week. I’m aiming to go running 2-3 times a week at half an hour (approximately) a run with Couch-to-5K, and I’m aiming to lift weights 3 times a week without a set amount of time or reps. I average 20-30 minutes per workout, so I’ve got a good balance for myself. I’m not a newbie when it comes to exercise, so if I went a little easier on myself (with like 4 days of working out instead of 6), I know I’d get bored and unmotivated.

I’ll be consulting my monthly layouts a lot more often. For those with keen eyes, you’ll see I eliminated a habit tracker. I don’t know why I didn’t include it, but it’ll be interesting to see how I fare without a list of checkboxes to fill in every time I brush my teeth or read a book. I just didn’t feel like I needed a list to keep track of my actions this month. What matters more to me are my mental health symptoms and the side effects from my medication. My habits and daily routine and *life* are affected by my mental health—so why should I keep track of what my mental health changes? Why not instead keep track of my mental health symptoms so I can catch myself when I’m slipping?

This month I also returned to a colour scheme I used back in February. Something about orange and blue and grey makes me happy and calm. I didn’t go heavy on the decorating. With how utilitarian and pragmatic these spreads are, I didn’t want to put my energy into keeping it pretty. Besides, the design is pleasing enough that a bit of colour and cursive does enough for me!

June 2017 Monthly Bullet Journal Spreads

Unlike April and May, my June layouts are full-force spreads that I’ve created! I’m only a few days into using them, but I’ve been enjoying them so far.

I also thought I’d include what my desk looks like when I’m brainstorming/pre-planning a monthly layout.

A desk with a mess of notebooks, pens, markers, sticky notes, and sketchbooks.

The monthly layouts always take a lot of energy out of me. I’ve spent hours figuring out how I want my spreads to look. There’s so much more that goes into them than just using the same ones as the previous month. Sometimes, I can’t do that—like April, when I moved and needed to focus my priorities on other things—and other times, it doesn’t fit what I want to achieve.

My monthly layouts set the tone for how I want to approach the next four or five weeks. I think, “Where do I want to focus my time? My energy? What commitments have I made? Where are my deadlines? How will my goals and projects be affected by my activities this month?” and so on, and so forth.

I’m also always trying new things. My bullet journal is a place for me to play. Every spread is a puzzle that I have to make and then solve, looking for the problems and answers mostly within myself (and the confines of my dot grid space, of course).

I’ve tried calendar layouts like this before, and have found I either neglect them, or I overuse them and get frustrated when my plans don’t line up nicely.

A notebook page in landscape orientation showing a 30-day box calendar for June, with a small table on the left side to input work, goals, and rewards. A quote in the top corner reads, "Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance."

I’m being more lax this month with habit tracking. I’m not sure why, but it felt right, you know? There’s a lot of flux in my environment right now—both my living situation and my family are undergoing positive changes—and I wanted to “go with the flow” more this month, compared to May’s focus on spontaneity. Going with the flow just comes off a bit more mindful, y’know?

A notebook in landscape orientation showing a small calendar, divided into sections on each day on half the page, with a list of goals and associated to-do lists on the other half.

I’m very happy with my mood tracker for this month. I went all Pride 2017 with it, evoking the rainbow. I’ve also changed up how I track my moods: instead of picking a mood for the entire day, I have 3 spaces for each day: morning, afternoon, and evening. That way, I can see how I progress through the day, rather than try to remember a feeling for the entire day. We change so much on micro and macro levels, throughout the day and from day-to-day. This month of tracking my moods through the day will be helpful when I see my doctor at some point over the summer to check my blood sugar levels, too.

I’d post my weekly spreads right now, but they’re still very simple to-do lists! I’m enjoying them and I make them as I go along through the days. They’ve got the time codex bar like I was using in September; very simple and not colour-coded.

If you wanna see more of my bullet journal posts, I’m probably going to get back to posting them on my Instagram. Sharing photos there is much faster than blogging about them, after all! (Also lots of food pictures and the occasionally selfie spam, of course.)

May 2017 Monthly Bullet Journal Spreads

May 7 2017 Update: I’ve embedded the Youtube video of my timelapse doodle of the geode! Scroll down to the bottom to see it.

My bullet journal spreads in April (well, my singular spread) was almost like a break for me. I needed a bit of a reset from my bullet journal and from planning. I think it’s really important to take breaks from your bullet journal, particularly if you take a creative or artistic approach like I do. This month, I’m excited to get back into the bujo! I’m still unsure if I’ll do weekly or daily spreads, but for now, here are my monthly layouts.

This month, since it’ll be my first one where I’m living post-grad in my hometown, I have more time on my hands to work on my personal projects as well as my clients’ projects. My personal projects include doing more art, on top of the writing. I’ve always felt a little guilty for having to choose between the two, but in the words of Tulio and Miguel…

Both? Both is good.

So I created my spreads this month to both inspire my artistic inclinations, as well as remember two important philosophies for art:

  1. Practise your art, both what you know and what you’re learning.
  2. Ignore perfectionism.

I’m glad I could get my perseverance quote in this month, too. I didn’t include one for April’s spread—it didn’t feel right—and this month’s is perfect. I’ll be doing the Couch To 5K interval training for walking and jogging. I may post a blog about my motives for starting, and possibly check in weekly with how it’s going. (But then again, I might not.) I also have my preferred calendar, and as you can see, I haven’t filled in anything yet. I like to post my blank spreads, after all.

A 2-page notebook spread with a list on the left page and a calendar table on the right page.

I loved doodling the crystals and geodes. Doing so required some studying and reference photos, which is important in illustrative work. I recorded my doodle of the second geode (the one I didn’t mess up, haha), as well as the crystal cluster at the bottom. I’m thinking of editing the clips and posting them to YouTube or somewhere, so let me know if you’re interested in seeing those!

I used pictures from Pinterest as reference and study! Here is a split geode, and here is a doodled illustration of crystals. I’m excited to see the finished, coloured products of the crystals!

A 2-page notebook spread with a sleeping chart on the left page and illustrations of geodes and crystals on the right page.

But drawing the geodes really reminded me that planning can’t take precedence over organic function and creation. There was no way I could’ve planned the geodes. I started with an outline and had to go from there. I want to take that philosophy and apply it more to my life.

My bullet journal has been very planned out during in February and March, so I’m trying to go with the flow a little more this month. I’m not sure if I’ll use weekly or daily spreads, but we’ll see how it goes!

Timelapse Video:

April 2017 Monthly Bullet Journal Spread

Literally too lazy to fix the orientation of this photo.

Here’s my spread for the upcoming month.

It’s a simple to-do list. I’ve got room for more, in case I need more. I found myself neglecting a lot of spreads in my bullet journal, as well as spreading myself thin between too many projects every single day. So, I’ve gone for a simple month-long look at goals, projects, and tasks.

Beside the calendar is my small to-do list for different tasks and goals. I have my list for the blog posts, since I need to get them scheduled so I can use my time for packing and moving. I’ll likely add more as the month goes on!

Bullet Journal 101: Modules, Logs, and Migration

Happy Canada Day, and welcome back to Bullet Journal 101!

Last week, we looked at the basics of a bullet journal. This week, we’re looking at how you can expand out from your to-do lists to create a larger, more complex, and more specialised system for your BuJo.

The official website talks about Modules, Logs, and Migration, but only briefly, so I’ll cover them again here for clarity’s sake.

Modules

Modules include everything in your BuJo. A log is a module. The index is a module. Your habit tracker is a module. All of your collections are modules. Modules are to clothes as logs and collections are to shirts and pants. Logs and collections are modules. Shirts and pants are clothes. It’s a category for all the crap you’re putting in your notebook.

Logs

Logs deal with time-sensitive items. You can create a “Future Log” like the one on the website, where you write down events, tasks, and reminders in a calendar spread for the future, but with less detail than the “Monthly Log.” The monthly log is a list of all the days in the month, and then relevant information is stored there. The BuJo website classifies daily to-do lists as “Daily Logs,” so any tasks, events, and reminders that are linked to a specific day are considered to be part of a log.

Another way to look at logs is to see them as calendars. A four-month semester-long calendar is a semester log. A three-month calendar is a quarter log for your blog or business. A calendar for one month is a monthly log. A series of rows and columns that have a space for each day of each month for an entire year can be used for tracking your habits or quality of life—and this is also a log. A yearly habit log, perhaps.

A large chunk of the BuJo community finds most of their inspiration and creativity inside their logs and collections. You can mix and match, create your own, and cater all of your logs and collections to your specific needs.

Migration

All the information in your BuJo, whether it’s a task that needs to be done or an inspiring quote you noted on a day, needs to be migrated to a more permanent space, like a collection. Migration deals with the list items from your daily logs that don’t have a “done” or “in progress” status. Tasks not done on one day can be migrated to the next day, or they can be scheduled for another day. Signifiers and bullets can tell you whether the task is moved to tomorrow or scheduled farther in the future. Notes and reminders, or quotes you jot down, can be done in the daily log and then migrated to the appropriate collection or calendar.

So let’s say I have a daily log. In it, I write, “Even behind clouds, the sun will rise”—a motivational and inspiring quote. I also write, “Brother visits July 3rd to July 12th.”

At a designated time, maybe at the end of the day or the end of the week, I would flip through my daily logs and find pertinent information to transfer to a collection or a different log. I’d move my quote to a Quotes collection, and write down in a monthly log the days my brother is in town.

Personally, migration doesn’t work for me. It’s an additional step that takes away from my organisation; I’d rather go straight to the collection or log and write down the information.

However, if I have a task or an event written in one daily log that I don’t do that day, or that gets post-poned, I can migrate it to the next day, or I can add it to a monthly or weekly log, or even add it to a collection like “Housekeeping and Home Improvement.” I have yet to find a rational way to cross-reference a monthly log with my daily logs to try implementing migration. Just goes to show that I’m still learning with you!


If you can believe it, we’ve covered the basics already. You now have all the information necessary to go full-force into a bullet journal. You know about bullets, collections, modules, logs, and migration. If you’re confident enough, you can stray from the purist path. If not, I suggest you use the method on the website to see what doesn’t work. Start with the process of elimination.

This week’s challenge

Create a monthly log for July. You can use the design on the BuJo website, or do a look on Pinterest and Instagram for ideas. I have a Pinterest board for the bullet journal in case you need inspiration. Think about how much information you need to include in your log. You can also write out the things you want to display in your monthly log. Maybe a list like the original system will work for you. Maybe you need a column-and-row box calendar instead.

Here is what I’ve designed for my July Log!

Monthly Log July

Next week will feature all the goodies you can have fun with in the core of the bullet journal—Daily Logs. I’ll share some of my own daily log spreads so you can see what I started with and how my layouts changed.

Bullet Journal 101 Modules Logs Migration Expanding Bullet Journal For Beginners